FDA hired Jim Gorny as senior science adviser in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Gorny comes to FDA from the Produce Marketing Association where he was vice president for food safety and technology. Before joining PMA in 2013, Gorny was a senior adviser for produce safety at CFSAN for about four years. And before that, he was executive director of the University of California-Davis’s Postharvest Center.

Kevin Shea, administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is making some key promotions on his leadership team. Cheryle Blakely will serve as deputy administrator for International Services – a role she has already been acting in as associate deputy administrator. In addition, Janet Bucknall, Eastern Region director with APHIS Wildlife Services, will take over as the program’s deputy administrator. And Willie Harris, the current Eastern Region director for Investigative and Enforcement Services, will replace Bucknall as Eastern Region director. 

The White House is looking for another nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality. The nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White was withdrawn amid controversy about some of her statements on climate change. Hartnett White, who once headed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and now serves as a fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the fall that while she believed humans probably contribute to current warming, “the extent to which, I think, is very uncertain.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also looking for a new boss. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned from the post last week, a day after Politico reported that she had purchased tobacco stock after taking the public health agency’s top job. Fitzgerald’s other financial holdings reportedly were already under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest. Fitzgerald, an OB/GYN from Georgia, was selected for the position in July by then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Price was forced to resign in April amid a scandal involving his use of private planes.

Emily Wyonzek was promoted to director of operations at the Cotton Board. She’s been with the Cotton Board for nearly 10 years, mostly serving as manager of human resources.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue named five new leaders within USDA’s Departmental Administration. Donald Bice was appointed deputy assistant secretary for administration; Gary Washington, chief information officer; Mary Pletcher, chief human capital officer; George Cabaniss, senior procurement executive; and Joseph Doyle, customer service coordinator. Doyle served as chief of Georgia’s Officer of Customer Service when Perdue was the state’s governor…

Perdue also appointed four new members to serve three-year terms on the Paper and Packaging Board. They are Matthew Kaplan, of North Brook, Ill., representing the South Region; Jennifer L. Miller, of Boston, for the Northeast Region; Palace V. Stepps, of Hartsville, S.C., for the Midwest Region; and John D. Williams, Fort Mill, S.C., representing importers … And more appointments from Perdue, this time for the Christmas Tree Promotion Board: Five producers and one importer were picked. Newly appointed producer members are Jim Corliss of Newburgh, Maine, and Roger W. Beyer, Molalla, Ore. Reappointed producer members are Paul F. Battaglia, San Martin, Calif; Della Jean Deal, Laurel Springs, N.C.; and Beth Walterscheidt, Elgin, Texas. The importer member reappointed is Christopher Maciborski, Manton, Mich.

Susan Metzger has been appointed senior executive administrator for the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension, starting March 12.  Metzger currently serves as deputy secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, where she leads the agency’s policy evaluation and development related to water and natural resources.

Curry Roberts was elected chairman of the board of directors for Southern States Cooperative at the farmer-owned co-op’s recent board meeting in Richmond, Va. Roberts, the president of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, an economic development organization, had been the board’s vice chair since 2013. He succeeds Raleigh Ward, who reached his term limit after service as the board’s chairman for the past four years.

Billi Hunt has been named the executive director of the Iowa Cultivation Corridor. She’ll join the economic development organization on Feb. 19 after working as DuPont’s government affairs manager for the U.S. Central Region, which includes Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association named the Jim O’Haco Cattle Company of Winslow, Ariz., as the winner of its Environmental Stewardship Award. The business is owned by Jim and Jeanne O’Haco and encompasses about 60,000 acres in eastern Arizona. NCBA says Jim O’Haco has “spent his lifetime … implementing land management programs to restore grazing land and improve water infrastructure on his family’s operation.” The award was presented last week at the 2018 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Phoenix.

The National Pork Board named Leon Sheets of northeast Iowa as America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The previous winner, Leslie McCuiston, stepped down after taking a new position in the agricultural industry where she will not directly work with pigs, which is a requirement for the role. Sheets started farming with his grandfather when he was a child. He raises 33,000 pigs on his farm, focusing on animal care and environmental sustainability. He also gr­­­­­­ows corn, soybeans, hay and cover crops. Sheets will serve in the role until a new Pig Farmer of the Year is announced in October 2018.

The National Wild Turkey Federation hired Ross Melinchuk as the organization’s new vice president of conservation. He previously served as director of conservation programs and partnerships for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. A native of Saskatchewan, Canada, Melinchuk also spent 17 years with Ducks Unlimited, rising to the position of director of public policy. Before that, he served in Washington, D.C., as North American Waterfowl Management Plan coordinator for the then International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies from 1990-1992.

The Meat Institute honored four industry leaders during the 2018 International Production and Processing Expo Atlanta. Ronald Miniat, board chairman of The Miniat Companies, received the E. Floyd Forbes Award in recognition of his accomplishments and strong commitment to the meat industry. Texas Tech professor Mark Festus Miller was honored with the Harry L. Rudnick Educator's Award in recognition of his role as an educator of future industry leaders. Stephen Quickert, senior manager for food safety and scientific affairs at the Kraft Heinz Co., received the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education Scientific Achievement Award, and the Supplier of the Year Award was presented to the Birko Corporation for the company’s commitment and work to continuously improve and innovate to ensure the safety of today's food supply.   

President Trump nominated Missouri businessman Kenneth Johnson to be administrator of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. Johnson is the CEO of the Co-Mo Electric Cooperative and president of Co-Mo Connect, a company that provides internet and voice service to 16,000 subscribers in Tipton, Missouri.

Tim Greene was appointed president of Burrus Brothers and Associated Growers. He succeeds his father-in-law, Tom Burrus, who died in October. Greene previously served as vice president of Burrus Brothers and Associated Growers and is part-owner of Arenzville, Ill.-based Burrus Seed Farms Inc.

The U.S. Soybean Export Council has elected or appointed 16 members to its board of directors for 2018. The new board will be seated on Feb. 26 at USSEC’s annual board meeting in Anaheim, California. Click here to see a full list of newly elected or appointed members.

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